Nadeem Memon – How Helping Bengali Chacha in Rolling Grounds Changed his life…
Mumbai Cricket is filled with inspiring unheard stories and people who have been around since the longest of time but often going unnoticed. One such personality who has been deeply connected with the grassroots of Mumbai Cricket is none other than Nadeem Memom sir- the revered Ground Curator of the iconic Wankhede Stadium.
Nadeem Memon, though 61 today has been acquainted with the maidans of Mumbai Cricket since the 80’s. A football player in his early days and then finally spotting his love for cricket, Nadeem went on to play cricket himself playing Top Division Mumbai and Corporate Cricket. Nadeem has also played in Times Shield and other marquee MCA tournaments. Nadeem also represented IDBI Bank in corporate Cricket. Nadeem Memom played A Div Cricket for almost 11 years and he was also a part of the iconic Karnataka Sporting Association Team which won Purshottam Shield back then. Karnatak team during the 80’s had the likes of Ravi Shastri, Brijesh Patel, Suresh Shetty, Sudhakar Rao, Deepak Rai, Balvinder Singh Sandhu to name a few who all were prolific first class cricketers of that time. Nadeem later also played for John Bright CC and he remembers playing alongside the likes of Vinod Kambli as well. Nadeem also recalls being close to Achrekar sir and the memories he shared with him during his playing days are still etched close to his heart.
Nadeem’s journey with Ground Curation also began in the most fascinating ways. Nadeem Memon shared with Cricketgraph”
“During 1979-83, when i used to also play football alongside cricket, there used to no facilities for working out and even if there were, affording it would be a challenge and to be a strong footballer you need strong calves and leg muscles. There used to be one Bengali Chacha on the Maidans who used to make pitches. For almost 4-5 years, I used to help Chacha in rolling the grounds, those 500kg rollers ensured that my calves and leg muscles became strong while at the same time I also learned the nitty gritties of ground curation, I would study the wickets, use roller on moisture wickets as well and that is how my journey began as a ground curator”
Fast forward to 2022, Nadeem Memom now holds experience of over 3 Decades as ground curator and indeed he is one of the Top Ground Curators of India. In a career spanning 30+ years, Nadeem has prepared over 58 Grounds while he has actively made wickets for iconic clubs like PJ Hindu Gymkhana, Parsee Gymkhana, MIG, Islam Gymkhana, DY Patil, Anushakti Nagar Ground, Nehru Stadium to name a few. Nadeem Memom was the official Ground Curator of Wankhede Stadium between 1999 to 2003 and later came back to service Wankhede from 2011 to 2015.
Nadeem recalls “I was the first ground curator to completely dig and prepare new wickets at Oval Maidan assisting in opening the now very reputed Elf Vengsarkar Cricket Academy. The 2002 wicket at Wankhede was also made by me, the same wicket where Mumbai emerged Ranji Champions and till date the wicket is almost the same”
A one man with various faces, Nadeem has done it all whether you talk about him as a cricketer, ground curator, coach or a secretary. Nadeem Memom has always believed to remain connected with this beautiful sport in different facets. For the uninitiated, Nadeem Memon is also a qualified MCA and NIS Coach, Nadeem passed his Coaching exam in 1986/87 from MCA under the tutelage of legendary Madhav Mantri sir where he learned important aspects of the game. Nadeem coached Anjuman Islam School between 1985 to 1988 for 3 years & during his tenure Anjuman always reached the finals in Harris/Giles Shield tournaments.
Nadeem has also served as the Joint Secretary of MSSA – Mumbai Schools & Sports Associations between 2015-2019 while he has been an active voter of MCA since 1984. Nadeem actively continues to curate grounds for MCA Wankhede, MCA BKC and MCA Kandivali while his contribution to Mumbai Cricket certainly holds a special place in its own right. His journey of more than 4 decades is certainly inspiring for the future generations who will remain connected to the field of cricket.
Stay Tuned for more such inspiring stories as Cricketgraph envisages to bring out many more unheard stories from grassroot cricket.